At the beginning of September, the Swiss Peter Zumthor (Basel, 1943) travelled to Copenhagen to receive the 200,000 ecus of the Carlsberg Prize from Queen Margarita of Denmark. The extraordinary critical appreciation and media impact of the two latest buildings, the thermal baths in Vals and the Kunsthaus in Bregenz, have brought him out of the relative obscurity where he created an exquisite oeuvre, abstract in its geometrical rigor, sensual in its material perfection and vernacular in its connection with place and memory. Trained first as a cabinet maker, Zumthor studied architecture in Basel and New York. In 1979, after a decade in the heritage department of Graubünden, he started his own studio. Twenty years later, small almost secret projects emerge out of the first stage of his built biography, like the slatted protective shed of the archaeological ruins in Chur, the scaly chapel of Saint Benedict in Sumvitg, and the stone box of the old people’s housing in Masans. And from the last stage bigger, international commissions appear: a nazi documentation center in Berlin or the Swiss pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hannover.